Māori research practices

Cultural, political and practical information to support incorporating tikanga Māori (Māori customs and protocols) into research activities at the University.

Hongi during graduation ceremony.

By embedding tikanga Māori into your academic research practices, not only will you build cultural competence, but you’ll help invoke university values and give effect to Victoria University of Wellington’s Treaty of Waitangi Statute.

As a Victoria University of Wellington researcher, you’re invited to consider the ways that your research conforms to this statute. Increasingly in New Zealand, research activities and funding applications are expected to include a Māori dimension and express tenets of the government’s Vision Mātauranga, designed to encourage research that draws on Māori knowledge, resources and people.

Together, we can ensure that our research reflects the University's Vision Statement and affirms that “Victoria University of Wellington will be imbued with distinctive qualities through its values and through the Treaty of Waitangi, mātauranga Māori and te reo Māori.” The values referred to in that statement—akoranga, whanaungatanga, whai mātauranga, kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and rangatiratanga—require some understanding and commitment to tikanga Māori.

Researchers are supported by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) to integrate mātauranga Māori into their work. The Office can give advice on completing research grant applications. It also hosts workshops and training sessions to help researchers incorporate the Māori dimension into the various aspects and stages of research.

The values

The vision statement expands on the concepts behind the following tikanga Māori values of the University:

to teach and to learn

a sense of belonging

Whai mātauranga
the pursuit of knowledge

care and guardianship

generosity, respect and hospitality

leadership, nobility and autonomy


Human Ethics application processes at Victoria University of Wellington requires you to explain ways in which your research conforms to the University’s Treaty of Waitangi Statute. This issue requires full and thoughtful consideration.

If you’re specifically recruiting from groups including Māori during your research, you need to have consultated before submitting your application. The Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) encourages and support you in building relationships and engaging effectively with Māori groups.

Te Hāpai programme

Te Hāpai is a development programme that can be accessed by all University staff and is designed to increase the understanding and use of Māori culture, language and the Treaty of Waitangi.

Te Herenga Waka Marae—the meeting house

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The Marae also hosts Te Hui Whakapūmau, the annual Māori graduation ceremony in December, and a celebration for the May graduation.

Māori cultural practices

There are a number of Māori cultural practices that may be appropriate to incorporate into your research processes. You may, for example, consider holding a pōhiri/pōwhiri (Māori welcome), starting research meetings with karakia (incantation) or concluding with waiata (songs).

Detail about practices surrounding speaking, eating, relationships with the immediate environment and Māori customs is available in the Tikanga Māori at University guide (2017).